United Church of Christ in the Philippines and Silliman University
The program in the Philippines is about developing servant-leaders through faith in action. The 10-month placement will include immersions into different church and community settings that expose the Philippine reality as a mosaic for reflection and socio-cultural understanding. Each volunteer will be matched with specific and suitable work responsibility in one setting addressing relevant and compelling issues that requires transformative community action.
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Most of its 98 million inhabitants live on 11 main islands. Independence from Spain came in 1898, and from the United States in 1946. Today the Philippines continues to emerge from the colonial dependency that hindered its capacity to prosper and develop. Spanish and American influence in the Philippines is still pervasive. The Philippines is one of the poorest nations in Asia and is torn by internal conflicts caused by disenchantment with a long history of social injustice to the poor and marginalized. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines was established in 1948 and is a union of several early Protestant churches that were in mission in the Philippines. It is a minority church in a culture that is 80 percent Roman Catholic, 10 percent Protestant, 6 percent Muslim, and 4 percent indigenous and Chinese religions.
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Intentional Community Living
The 11-month program will begin with group orientation and community-building activities, and shall combine work at their placement sites and periodic group reflection and processing gatherings. These gatherings will be intentional about providing YAVs opportunities to appreciate the natural and historic richness of the Philippines.
The base of the YAV program in the Philippines will be at the Silliman University on the island of Negros, founded by Presbyterian mission in 1901. Possible placements in various parts of the country include work with church and other non-profit organizations that are focusing on the following issues and initiatives:
Working as teaching assistants or guidance counsellors in church-related schools and educational programs in rural areas
Providing support services for documentation and life skills training for children in shelters (survivors of child abuse and neglect)
Supporting production work and outreach services for a water ministry program
Communications, training and advocacy work for rehabilitation programs of disaster-affected communities
Documentation and promotions work for a theater ministry for young people
Administrative and training support for the ecumenical peace process activities
During the orientation and periods for reflection, YAVs will be housed on the campus of Silliman University in Dumaguete City. During their work assignments, volunteers will live with host families till the Christmas season and will have an option for independent housing arrangement thereon.
Education: College degree or equivalent
Others: Open to simple living, sensitive to cultural diversity, ability to work individually as well as in group settings, willingness to learn another language, adjusts personal expectations and preferences to respond appropriately to the needs of the community.
Over the past 16 years, the U.S. suicide rate has jumped more than 30%. Churches have a pivotal role to play in this epidemic, creating safe spaces for those walking in darkness to talk openly and heal. The 2018 General Assembly urged congregations to get involved in suicide prevention. Presbyterians Today examines what some churches are doing and shows what you can do to help.